CHRIST’S LORDSHIP OVER LIFE AND DEATH
(A biblical reflection on the 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time [Year C], 5 June 2016)
Gospel Reading: Luke 7:11-17
First Reading: 1 Kings 17:17-24; Psalms: Psalm 30: 2,4-6,11-13; Second Reading: Galatians 1:11-19
The Scripture Text
Soon afterward He went to a city called Nain, and His disciples and a great crowd went with Him. As He drew near to the gate of the city, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a large crowd from the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” And He came and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up, and began to speak. And He gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all; and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited His people!” And this report concerning Him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country. (Luke 7:11-17 RSV)
At Nain, Christ’s lordship over life and death was shown in an awe-inspiring incident. Power over death was such a sign of God’s presence that here, for the first time, Luke refers to Jesus as the Lord, a title hitherto given only to God.
One can easily imagine how the people felt. To see someone raised from the dead! The dead man got up and walked. Jesus gave him to his mother. Yet one fancies that there-was some greedy next-of-kin there that day whose crocodile tears abruptly ceased as the return of the son snatched back the property rights from his grasping hand.
But the general reaction of the people was one of awe. And they clearly saw the presence of God in the event: they were moved to praise God. “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited His people!” (Luke 7:16).
Writers at the time spoke of the world being under the reign of the devil, “the prince of this world”. But when God visited the world in Jesus Christ, the power of the Kingdom of God began a victory march through the world, pushing back the enemy lines.
Life was considered the creation of God: death was thought of as the home territory of the devil. But Jesus was destined to enter the abode of death and there conquer evil on its own pitch.
The three instances when Jesus raised people from death were declarations of His power and intention. He is the Lord of life and death … “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).
Short Prayer: Lord Jesus, may Your compassion for us fill us with compassion for others, especially those in our families and those who have knowledge of Your great love and mercy. Amen.
Jakarta, 6 June 2016
A Christian Pilgrim